NOAA has issued their seasonal outlook on the third Thursday of the Month and it is based on there being a La Nina and an average Southwest Monsoon which may get underway a bit early. That combination (average but early start) seems to be a bit of a contradiction but we will see how it plays out. In my report tonight, of course I discuss Sunday's and today's record heat event first in Arizona on Sunday and today in Southern California. We also continue to explore the possibilities for a La Nina and variations in the Summer Monsoon.
This is the RegularEdition of my weekly Weather and Climate Update Report. Additional information can be found here on Page II of the Global Economic Intersection Weather and Climate Report.
From last week.
For short-term matters, NOAA Climate Change Scientists talk in terms of 400 ppm being bad. In the Southwest, Meteorologists pay a lot of attention to 500mb "Thickness" [read an explanation of thickness at this link] levels of 600dm. The two metrics may well be correlated. 600dm may translate into surface temperatures of 115F to 120F so that is pretty warm for this coming week in June. Many things can moderate the situation but 120F is definitely warm. Besides humans, such heat can be hard on animals and can lead to power failures and wildfires. This is the information that the Phoenix NWS has been providing re their temperature history.
Records Related to the Week Ahead
115 in 2015
116 in 2015
115 in 1968
115 in 1960
115 in 1968
116 in 2008
115 in 2008
116 in 1968
Top 5 Hottest Temperatures All Time
122 on July 26, 1990
124 on July 28, 1995
121 on July 28, 1995
123 on Sept 1, 1950
120 on June 25, 1990
122 on June 26, 1990
119 on June 29, 2013
120 on Aug 27, 1981
118 on Several days
120 on June 24, 1957
The 115 and 116 this coming week are likely to be broken most likely this weekend. The forecast suggests that temperatures in excess of 120F are not likely but this is mid -June and the all time records were set later in the summer. It can get really hot in the Southwest before the Monsoon arrives and during breaks in the Monsoon.
Here is how Sunday morning started in Phoenix Arizona. From the 9 am Sunday NWS Phoenix Report:
A very strong ridge continues to set up over the southwest United States, with the Tucson 12z sounding already breaking records this morning for both the 500mb heights and 850mb temperatures. The sounding depicted 500mb heights of 598dm, breaking the previous record of 594dm and a 850mb temperature of 30.2c, breaking the previous record of 30c. [Editor's note, this time of year subtract 7 from Zulu or Greenwich Mean Time to get Phoenix time as Arizona does not utilize Daylight Savings Time.
The 12z Phoenix sounding showed a 850mb temperature similar to the 06z NAM buffer sounding. The NAM and European model (ecmwf) output during these types of synoptic setups generally performs well; with the NAM forecasting a Max temperature of 119f, and the European model (ecmwf) forecasting 120f this afternoon in Phoenix. This has prompted a slight increase in the high temperatures this afternoon, with a high temperature of 119f forecast in Phoenix. Given this analysis comes to fruition and Phoenix hits 119f, it would be the earliest Phoenix has reached 119f and will break the previous record of 115 degrees set back in 1968.
They say it is clear in Phoenix but the water vapor imagery shows that there is either a layer of moisture or high clouds. It is now 114F at 1pm Phoenix Time. the tension is building.
It is 2:20pm in Phoenix now and it is 118+ so the suspense is mainly gone. I hope everyone is ok. There is no mystery that it is getting warmer.
Warmer means wetter so they will be getting some Monsoon relief soon perhaps within days but today is a hot day in Phoenix.
And then the report at 2:30 pm local time:
A very strong ridge continues to set up over the southwest United States, as evident in this mornings Tucson 12z sounding that broke records for both the 500mb heights and 850mb temperatures. The sounding depicted 500mb heights of 598dm, breaking the previous record of 594dm and a 850mb temperature of 30.2c, breaking the previous record of 30c. Forecast is still on track for Lower Desert high temperatures to reach 115 to 120 degrees this afternoon.
On Monday, high pressure will strengthen and expand to the west allowing greater heights to situate over southeast California. This is evident in the naefs mean geopotential heights output which is indicating heights aloft at or above the 99th percentile, with an expansion of these high percentiles to the west. The high temperatures tomorrow will still remain near 115-120, however the hottest temperatures will be in far southwest Arizona and southeast California under the 850mb thermal ridge. Temperatures will be a couple degrees cooler in central Arizona, and even both the 12z NAM and GFS buffer soundings are indicating 850mb heights a bit cooler than today. However, exceptionally hot and dangerous temperatures will still exist area wide, and the excessive heat warning is still in effect.
Monday afternoon, moisture starts to creep in from the southeast, slightly increasing precipitation chances over Southeast Arizona and parts of east-central Arizona, primarily over the higher terrain of far eastern Gila County. Both the GFS and NAM are showing MLCAPE values in this area around 100 to 200 j/kg capable of generating deep convection and isolated thunderstorms. However, the low level atmosphere will remain extremely dry, and virga and outflow winds will be the primary result of any storm that develops little to no measurable precipitation.
Looks like they are not reaching 600dm today. They came close to 119 but not quite. It is interesting to me that this temperature was able to be forecast at least seven days in advance. They know what they are doing at the Phoenix NWS Office.
Arizona is not the only place that was hot today. Parts of California were hot on Sunday and unlike Arizona were expect to be even hotter on Monday. So we will track them today i.e. Monday.
California Possible New Records on Monday June 20, 2016
Record for June 20
Forecast for Monday
118 in 1929
116 in 1929
118 in 2008
116 in 2008
It is now Monday. The commentary blow by blow above was written yesterday when the focus was on Arizona. I do not know if I believe this. But the Palm Springs Ca Weather Station reported by the Weather Underground was 127F and that was at 11:30 am. That did not seem right to me so I checked it out a bit and it was a personal weather station they were reporting. These locations include the NWS station at the Airport and it is only 117F there. Personal weather stations can be inaccurate (I used to have one) but more likely there is a lot of variability due to microclimates in desert areas that may have some locations that are extra high or low elevation and equipment may not function properly at these outrageous temperatures. So I am using the Palm Springs Airport report now. Currently 117F. The record is 118 the forecast is 122. We will see what happens.
* I may have not captured the highs as I was spot checking. I may go back into the article tomorrow and update the actuals in the above table. For these California stations, I have not found a good source for the running high and low for the day. It will be easy to confirm this data tomorrow. At this point I think it is safe to day that all four locations set new records for June 20. I would not want to be there. How do you want your dates (from Palm Springs) cooked? They may be able to spray the trees and the trees will be cooler but you get the point. It is hot there.
The low humidity produced heat indexes which were about 6 degrees cooler than the official temperature readings. It is both ironic and interesting that the unusual dryness of the air led to the breaking of temperature records but the comfort level may have been much less negatively impacted than the temperatures alone would suggest. Also low humidity means better cooling in the evening. I think Phoenix did not quite reach 600dm but the Four Corners area did but the higher elevation there does not translate 600dm into 120F.
Updated Seasonal Outlook
NOAA issued their updated Seasonal Outlook on the third Thursday of the month i.e. June 16, 2016 as is their normal schedule. Let's take a look.
Prior Temperature Outlook for JAS 2016
New Temperature Outlook for JAS 2016
The change is a little difficult to describe. It is basically a reduction in the probability of warmer than climatology for Texas plus an increase of the probabilities for warmer than climatology for parts of the East especially the Southeast north of Florida
Prior Precipitation Outlook for JAS 2016
New Precipitation Outlook for JAS 2016
There is not much change. There is an expanded cool anomaly for the Northwest and a new wet anomaly for South Dakota and part of Minnesota.
Now let us focus on the long-term situation.
Prior 14 Month Temperature Outlook: Jul 2016 - Aug 2017
New 14 Month Temperature Outlook: Aug 2016 - Sep 2017
To compare maps from one release to another one needs to remember that the new release drops one three-month period and adds a later one. So to make the comparisons one has to shift the new maps to the right one position and that makes the map on the right drop down to become the left-most map in the next level. I do not have a computer software tool for doing that for you so you have to do it mentally. When I do the comparison I print them out and put them side by side and number the same three-month maps 1, 2, 3,.....,11 in both sets of maps to make it easier for me to easily compare the same three-month period in the new with the previous forecast. One uses the same procedure to compare the precipitation maps. Based on this procedure, I conclude that:
The changes are not very significant and basically represent a slightly slower onset of La Nina impacts. This shows up in Nov-Dec-Jan and again in Jul-Aug-Sept 2017 which may be thought of as the decline of the La Nina.
Prior 14 Month Precipitation Outlook: Jul 2016 - Aug 2017
New 14 Month Precipitation Outlook: Aug 2016 - Sep 2017
If you want larger versions of each map (temperature and precipitation) you can find them here. And each of those maps can be clicked on to further enlarge them.
The precipitation changes are fairly minor and may be interpreted as a one month slower onset of La Nina.
Excerpts (significantly reorganized with a lot of redundancy removed) from the Discussion Released by NOAA on June 16, 2016
CURRENT ATMOSPHERIC AND OCEANIC CONDITIONS
PACIFIC SSTS ARE NEAR TO SLIGHTLY BELOW-AVERAGE ALONG THE EQUATOR, WITH ABOVE-NORMAL SSTS PERSISTING ACROSS THE SOUTH PACIFIC. THE MOST RECENT ONI VALUE (MARCH-MAY 2016) IS 1.1 DEGREES C, WHILE THE LATEST WEEKLY NINO 3.4 VALUE CONTINUES TO DECREASE AND IS AT 0.1 DEGREE C. A LARGE RESERVOIR OF ANOMALOUSLY COLD SUBSURFACE WATERS EXTEND FROM 50 TO 150 METERS BELOW THE SURFACE WITH THE LARGEST NEGATIVE ANOMALIES (MORE THAN 2 DEGREES C) PRESENT AT 100 METERS BELOW THE SURFACE FROM 130 TO 150 DEGREES W. ALTHOUGH CONVECTION DIMINISHED OVER THE EQUATORIAL PACIFIC, ENHANCED CONVECTION CONTINUES ALONG THE SPCZ DURING THE PAST 30 DAYS. TRADE WINDS HAVE BEEN NEAR AVERAGE DURING THE PAST MONTH, WHILE THE ANOMALOUS 200-HPA WESTERLIES WERE OBSERVED OVER THE WESTERN EQUATORIAL PACIFIC. ANOMALOUS INTEGRATED (0-300 METERS DEPTH) EQUATORIAL PACIFIC OCEAN HEAT CONTENT BECAME NEGATIVE IN MARCH AND REMAINS BELOW-AVERAGE THROUGH THE BEGINNING OF JUNE. THIS EXPANSE OF NEGATIVE HEAT CONTENT ANOMALIES CONTINUES TO FAVOR A RAPID TRANSITION TO LA NINA CONDITIONS DURING 2016. THE EXTRATROPICAL PACIFIC OCEAN REMAINS CONSISTENT WITH THE POSITIVE PHASE OF THE PACIFIC DECADAL OSCILLATION WITH ABOVE AVERAGE SSTS SOUTH OF ALASKA AND ALONG THE WEST COAST. POSITIVE SST ANOMALIES IN THE WESTERN ATLANTIC NEAR THE EAST COAST CONTINUE TO PERSIST. ANOMALOUSLY COLD SSTS REMAIN IN THE NORTH ATLANTIC POLEWARD OF 30 N, WHILE NEAR TO SLIGHTLY ABOVE-AVERAGE SSTS ARE PRESENT ACROSS THE TROPICAL ATLANTIC INCLUDING THE CARIBBEAN SEA AND GULF OF MEXICO.
PROGNOSTIC DISCUSSION OF SST FORECASTS
THE CPC SST CONSOLIDATION CONTINUES TO FORECAST WEAK LA NINA CONDITIONS BY SON WITH AMPLITUDE PEAKING JUST BELOW -0.5 DEGREES C IN NDJ. [Editor's Note: This is a dramatic change from prior forecasts of a strong La Nina]. PREDICTIONS FROM THE NORTH AMERICAN MULTI-MODEL ENSEMBLE (NMME) MEMBERS REMAIN IN GOOD AGREEMENT, WITH THE ENSEMBLE MEAN AVERAGING NEAR -0.5 C FROM LATE SUMMER THROUGH THE END OF THE YEAR. THE CPC/IRI CONSENSUS FORECAST INDICATES THAT LA NINA IS SLIGHTLY FAVORED BY JJA 2016 WITH THE CHANCES OF LA NINA NEAR 75 PERCENT DURING THE FALL AND WINTER 2016-17.
30-DAY OUTLOOK DISCUSSION FOR JULY 2016
THE JULY 2016 TEMPERATURE AND PRECIPITATION OUTLOOKS ARE BASED ON DYNAMICAL MODEL GUIDANCE AND STATISTICAL TOOLS, INCLUDING CLIMATE RELATIONSHIPS TO SOIL MOISTURE CONDITIONS. ENSO-NEUTRAL CONDITIONS ARE PRESENT IN THE TROPICS, AND THE EL NINO OF LATE 2015 AND EARLY 2016 HAS ENDED AND WILL NOT PLAY A ROLE IN THE CLIMATE CONDITIONS FOR NORTH AMERICA IN JULY. THE MJO RECENTLY STRENGTHENED, BUT DYNAMICAL MODELS INDICATE THAT THE MJO SIGNAL WILL WEAKEN BY JULY, AND MJO TELECONNECTIONS TO MID-LATITUDES ARE WEAKER DURING THE EARLY PART OF THE WARM SEASON. THE EVOLVING MJO, ALONG WITH THE DEVELOPMENT OF EARLY SEASON TROPICAL STORM SYSTEMS, WILL BE MONITORED FOR THE UPDATE ON JUNE 30. WITH CURRENTLY WEAK TROPICAL TELECONNECTIONS, THE MONTHLY TEMPERATURE AND PRECIPITATION OUTLOOKS FOR JULY 2016 ARE DERIVED PRIMARILY FROM THE LATEST DYNAMICAL MODEL GUIDANCE FROM THE NCEP CLIMATE FORECAST SYSTEM (CFS), THE NORTH AMERICAN MULTI-MODEL ENSEMBLE (NMME) AND THE INTERNATIONAL MULTI-MODEL ENSEMBLE (IMME), MODEL GUIDANCE FOR WEEKS 3 AND 4 FROM THE CFS, JAPAN METEOROLOGICAL AGENCY (JMA), AND ECMWF, AS WELL AS CLIMATE RELATIONSHIPS TO CURRENT SOIL MOISTURE CONDITIONS.
DYNAMICAL MODELS INDICATE INCREASED PROBABILITIES OF ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES ACROSS MOST OF THE U.S., WITH THE EXCEPTION OF PARTS OF THE CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN PLAINS. ANOMALOUS SOIL MOISTURE IS EXPECTED TO HAVE A SIGNIFICANT INFLUENCE ON JULY TEMPERATURES ACROSS THE REGION. CURRENT SOIL MOISTURE CONDITIONS RANK ABOVE THE 80TH PERCENTILE ACROSS A LARGE AREA OF THE GREAT PLAINS, WITH VALUES ACROSS MUCH OF TEXAS ABOVE THE 90TH PERCENTILE FOR THIS TIME OF YEAR. WEEK 3 AND 4 FORECASTS OF THE CFS AND ECMWF ENSEMBLE PREDICTION SYSTEMS INDICATE A GREATER CHANCE OF BELOW-NORMAL TEMPERATURES FOR PARTS OF TEXAS. THE AREA OF EQUAL-CHANCES OF ABOVE, NEAR AND BELOW-NORMAL TEMPERATURES FOR PARTS OF THE GREAT PLAINS IS LARGELY BASED ON AREAS OF ANOMALOUSLY HIGH SOIL MOISTURE CONDITIONS, AND IS ALSO SUPPORTED BY THE CALIBRATED NMME TEMPERATURE PROBABILITIES. THERE IS A TENDENCY FOR COOLER TEMPERATURES WITH ABOVE-MEDIAN SOIL MOISTURE CONDITIONS, AS INDICATED BY A CONSTRUCTED ANALOG OF SOIL MOISTURE, STATISTICAL TOOL. HOWEVER, THIS IS OFFSET SOMEWHAT BY CURRENT EVAPORATIVE DRYING OF THE SOIL MOISTURE. THE ENHANCED PROBABILITIES OF ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES, THAT ARE FORECAST ACROSS THE CONTIGUOUS U.S., ARE CONSISTENT WITH DYNAMICAL MODEL PREDICTIONS AND STATISTICAL TOOLS, WHICH INCORPORATE THE DECADAL CLIMATE WARMING TRENDS, AS WELL AS THE POTENTIAL INFLUENCE OF SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURE PATTERNS.
CALIBRATED PROBABILITIES FROM THE CONSENSUS OF THE NMME DYNAMICAL MODELS INDICATE AN INCREASED CHANCE OF ABOVE-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION FOR AREAS OF SOUTHEAST TEXAS AND SOUTHERN FLORIDA, POTENTIALLY RELATED TO ENHANCED TROPICAL ACTIVITY. CALIBRATED NMME PRECIPITATION FORECASTS, IN AGREEMENT WITH THE DECADAL CLIMATE TREND, INDICATE ENHANCED PROBABILITIES OF BELOW-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION FOR MUCH OF THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST, INCLUDING THE NORTH-CENTRAL ROCKIES, WASHINGTON AND OREGON.
NMME, INCLUDING CFS, DYNAMICAL MODEL GUIDANCE IS IN GOOD AGREEMENT ON INCREASED CHANCES OF ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES ACROSS ALASKA. THE HIGHEST CHANCES FOR ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES ARE FORECAST ACROSS THE ALEUTIAN ISLANDS, SOUTHERN COASTAL ALASKA, AND THE ALASKA PANHANDLE, WHERE SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURE ANOMALIES ARE MORE THAN 1.5 DEGREES C ABOVE-NORMAL. A CONSENSUS OF DYNAMICAL MODEL FORECASTS INDICATES AN INCREASED CHANCE OF ABOVE-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION FOR SOUTHWESTERN ALASKA AND THE ALEUTIAN ISLANDS.
Three Month Outlook: July - August - September
THE JULY-AUGUST-SEPTEMBER (JAS) 2016 TEMPERATURE OUTLOOK INDICATES INCREASED PROBABILITIES OF ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES ACROSS MOST THE FORECAST DOMAIN, ALTHOUGH PROBABILITIES ARE TEMPERED ACROSS THE GREAT PLAINS. THE HIGHEST PROBABILITIES FOR ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES ARE FORECAST ACROSS SOUTHERN ALASKA, THE ALEUTIANS, AND THE ALASKA PANHANDLE. THE JAS 2016 PRECIPITATION OUTLOOK FAVORS ABOVE-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION FOR PARTS OF ALASKA, THE GREAT PLAINS, UPPER MISSISSIPPI VALLEY, THE GULF COAST, AND MUCH OF FLORIDA, WHILE BELOW-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION IS MOST LIKELY ACROSS THE NORTHWESTERN CONUS.
THE TEMPERATURE OUTLOOKS THIS MONTH ARE VERY SIMILAR TO THOSE RELEASED THE PREVIOUS MONTH SINCE THE LIKELIHOOD OF LA NINA DEVELOPING REMAINS THE SAME. ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES ARE FAVORED ACROSS NEARLY ALL OF THE FORECAST DOMAIN FOR THE JAS OUTLOOK AS THE TEMPERATURE TOOLS ARE IN GOOD AGREEMENT. THE LOWEST PROBABILITIES FOR ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES ARE FORECAST ACROSS THE GREAT PLAINS DUE TO HIGH SOIL MOISTURE FROM NEBRASKA SOUTH TO TEXAS. EQUAL CHANCES OF BELOW, NEAR, OR ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES ARE FORECAST FOR EAST TEXAS WHERE SOIL MOISTURE CURRENTLY RANKS IN THE HIGHEST 99TH PERCENTILE. PROBABILITIES FOR ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES ARE INCREASED FROM THE PREVIOUS OUTLOOK ACROSS THE TENNESSEE VALLEY AND PARTS OF THE SOUTHEAST WHERE SHORT-TERM DRYNESS AND DROUGHT IS EXPANDING. ALSO, A DRY SIGNAL IS APPARENT AMONG SOME OF THE DYNAMICAL MODELS INCLUDING THE CFS. PROBABILITIES FOR ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES DURING JAS ARE ALSO SLIGHTLY INCREASED ACROSS THE ALEUTIANS, SOUTHERN ALASKA, AND THE ALASKA PANHANDLE WHERE SSTS REMAIN WELL ABOVE-NORMAL.
Precipitation and Here NOAA has Included October in This Part of their Analysis.
COMPARED TO THE PREVIOUS MONTH'S PRECIPITATION OUTLOOK FOR JAS, ODDS FOR BELOW-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION ARE INCREASED ACROSS THE NORTHWESTERN CONUS BASED ON IMPROVED AGREEMENT AMONG THE PRECIPITATION TOOLS. INCREASED CHANCES FOR ABOVE-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION ARE INTRODUCED TO PARTS OF THE NORTHERN GREAT PLAINS AND UPPER MISSISSIPPI VALLEY FOR JAS AND ASO 2016, BASED ON CALIBRATED GUIDANCE FROM THE NMME. A POTENTIAL INFLUENCE THE DEVELOPING LA NINA AND STATISTICAL FORECAST GUIDANCE SUPPORT A SLIGHT TILT IN THE ODDS TO ABOVE-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION AMOUNTS ALONG THE GULF COAST AND FLORIDA DURING JAS AND ASO 2016. NO CLEAR SIGNAL EXISTS AMONG PRECIPITATION TOOLS WITH MONSOON RAINFALL ACROSS THE SOUTHWEST DURING JAS 2016. THEREFORE, EQUAL CHANCES OF BELOW, NEAR, OR ABOVE-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION IS FORECAST FOR THE SOUTHWEST DURING THIS TIME PERIOD. DYNAMICAL MODEL GUIDANCE SUPPORTS ENHANCED ODDS FOR ABOVE-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION ACROSS WESTERN ALASKA AND THE ALEUTIANS FOR JAS AND ASO 2016
Special Analysis by Sig Silber
Not sure if this is part of the NOAA indecision here but the fact that the 2015/2016 El Nino did not behave as expected complicates make a forecast for the Southwest (also called the North American Monsoon). some of the indicators suggest a wetter than average Monsoon and some suggest a drier than average Monsoon. In the past, the Phoenix area monsoon was considered to have started when there were three consecutive days when the dew point averaged 55 degrees or higher. That may have been a good system but for simplicity, beginning in 2008, June 15 is established as the first day of monsoon, and September 30 will be the last day. Phoenix and Tucson are the first and last parts of CONUS to be impacted by the Southwest Monsoon.
The below graphic is important as the impact of the NAM on the Great Plains in Spring and the Southwest in Summer can be similar or different and that is important to attempt to sort out. I have not sorted it out yet but I am working on it and will report back later.
BEGINNING WITH THE OND OUTLOOK, EQUAL CHANCES FOR BELOW, NEAR, OR ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES ARE PREDICTED FOR THE NORTH-CENTRAL CONUS WITH THIS AREA EXPANDING IN THE NDJ OUTLOOK TO ACCOUNT FOR THE POTENTIAL INFLUENCE OF LA NINA. ALTHOUGH LA NINA TEMPERATURE COMPOSITES BEGIN TO FAVOR BELOW-NORMAL TEMPERATURES ACROSS THE NORTH-CENTRAL CONUS DURING NDJ, A STRONG AND CONSISTENT SIGNAL AMONG THE DYNAMICAL MODELS FOR ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES CONTINUES THROUGH THIS SEASON ACROSS MOST OF THE CONTIGUOUS 48 STATES. DURING DJF 2016-17, A SLIGHT TILT IN THE ODDS FOR BELOW-NORMAL TEMPERATURES IS FORECAST FOR THE NORTHERN TIER OF THE CONUS, AS LA NINA TEMPERATURE COMPOSITES HAVE A STRONGER SIGNAL. THE AREA FOR INCREASED CHANCES FOR BELOW-NORMAL TEMPERATURES IS EXPANDED TO INCLUDE THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST DURING JFM 2017, WHICH IS CONSISTENT WITH LA NINA TEMPERATURE COMPOSITES. ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES ARE FAVORED ACROSS THE SOUTHERN TIER OF THE CONUS THROUGH THE UPCOMING WINTER SEASON DUE TO GOOD AGREEMENT AMONG DYNAMICAL MODELS AND LA NINA INFLUENCES IN LATER LEADS. THE TEMPERATURE OUTLOOK FOR ALASKA IS BASED ON THE INCREASING INFLUENCE FROM LA NINA DURING THE LATE FALL AND WINTER. AN EXPECTED LACK OF SEA ICE ELEVATES CHANCES FOR ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES ACROSS NORTHERN ALASKA DURING THE FALL SEASON. THE TEMPERATURE OUTLOOK ACROSS THE FORECAST DOMAIN IS BASED ON TRENDS AND THE CONSOLIDATION AT THE LONGER LEAD TIMES.
THE PRECIPITATION OUTLOOKS ARE BASED ON THE LATEST DYNAMICAL MODEL GUIDANCE, THROUGH NDJ, ALONG WITH THE POTENTIAL EFFECTS FROM LA NINA. DURING THE FALL AND WINTER OF 2016-17, THE POTENTIAL EFFECTS FROM LA NINA CONDITIONS ARE THE PRIMARY REASON FOR THE FAVORED AREAS OF ABOVE OR BELOW-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION FORECAST ACROSS THE FORECAST DOMAIN. THE FORECAST PROBABILITIES ARE UNCHANGED FROM THE LAST FORECAST CYCLE, SINCE THE ENSO FORECAST REMAINS STABLE. DURING SON 2016, THE BROAD AREA OF INCREASED CHANCES OF BELOW-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION ON THE PREVIOUS OUTLOOK IS SEPARATED INTO TWO SEPARATE AREAS BASED ON THE MOST RECENT DYNAMICAL MODEL GUIDANCE. AT THE LONGER LEADS, MJJ THROUGH JAS 2017, A SLIGHT TILT TOWARD ABOVE-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION FOR NEW ENGLAND IS RELATED TO LONG-TERM TRENDS. ALSO, THE FAVORED AREA FOR BELOW-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION ACROSS THE NORTHWESTERN CONUS FOR JAS 2017 IS BASED ON TRENDS.
THIS SET OF OUTLOOKS WILL BE SUPERSEDED BY THE ISSUANCE OF THE NEW SET NEXT MONTH ON JUL 21 2016.
Sometimes it is useful to compare the present month outlook to the three-month outlook
One can mentally subtract the July Outlook from the three-month Outlook and create the Outlook for the last two months in the three-month period namely August and September 2016. When I do that, I deduce that:
The area from Wisconsin down to Texas will need to have higher probabilities of being a warm anomaly for the three-month average to work out. With respect to precipitation the Probabilities for the wet anomaly in the South Dakota area will need to be high for the three month average to work out. This is a similar situation for a narrow area along the Gulf Coast from Louisiana through Northern Florida.
Of all of these differences between July and the three-month average, the main difference is intensification of the warm anomaly from Texas to the north.
Let's Now Focus on the Current (Right Now to 5 Days Out) Weather Situation.
A more complete version of this report with daily forecasts is available In Part II. This is a summary of that more extensive report. Worldwide Weather: Current and Three-Month Outlooks: 15 Month Outlooks will take you directly to that set of information but it may take a few seconds for your browser to go through the two-step process of getting to Page II and then moving to the Section within Page II that is specified by this link.
Characteristics of a Weekly Weather Column.
Many graphics in this report are auto-updated by the source of the graphic. It is always my choice as the writer to allow these graphics to auto-update or "freeze them" to what they looked like when I write the article. Generally speaking graphics in research themes which appear above this point do not auto-update as they come from published scientific papers. When I make the decision to allow certain graphics to auto-update, it creates two issues:
A. As the graphic updates, my commentary becomes out of sync with the new version of the graphic. This can be very extreme if for example you take a look at my report from months ago.
B. On rare occasions, source sites for graphics go down and the graphic does not appear in the article and you probably see white space. If you experience such an event and that graphic is important to your understanding of the report, please return later to view my weather and climate column. Sometimes the "outage" is only for several minutes, but often the duration can be a number of hours or even one or more days. We feel that this inconvenience is preferable to looking at "frozen" weather map images that do not update since I write the article on Monday evenings and you probably do not read it until Tuesday and perhaps later in the week. So I want you to have the advantage of seeing the most up-to-date graphics. If the source is down, the white space is the price paid for most of the time being able to see the latest available graphics.
First, here is a national animation of weather fronts and precipitation forecasts with four 6-hour projections of the conditions that will apply covering the next 24 hours and a second day of two 12-hour projections the second of which is the forecast for 48 hours out and to the extent it applies for 12 hours, this animation is intended to provide coverage out to 60 hours. Beyond 60 hours, additional maps are available at the link provided above.
The explanation for the coding used in these maps, i.e. the full legend, can be found here although it includes some symbols that are no longer shown in the graphic because they are implemented by color coding.
The map below is the mid-atmosphere 7-Day chart rather than the surface highs and lows and weather features. In some cases it provides a clearer less confusing picture as it shows only the major pressure gradients.This graphic auto-updates so when you look at it you will see NOAA's latest thinking. The speed at which these troughs and ridges travel across the nation will determine the timing of weather impacts. This graphic auto-updates I think every six hours and it changes a lot. Because "Thickness Lines" are shown by those green lines on this graphic, it is a good place to define "Thickness" and its uses. The 540 Level general signifies equal chances for snow at sea level locations. I am leaving this explanation in the report but it may not be very significant until next October or so.
We now see the Four Corners High. The second high further east was interesting but this evening they are both merged together. There is a major Trough headed towards the Great Lakes.
The MJO has had significant impacts this winter but the impact on June is not likely to be very noticeable The MJO is not likely to have much of an impact for the month of June due to the time of the year and the lack of indication of the MJO cycle being strong at this time. But over the next few months, it might slow the development of the La Nina.
Notice the Northern Pacific is again more like a giant anticyclone with clockwise motion so that which gets sent west at low latitudes is to some extent returned to North America but at higher latitudes. That pattern was interrupted last week probably due to the demise of the El Nino and the impact of the MJO. We still do not see the rapid movement of storms at lower latitudes from east to west. Most of CONUS storms are originating from Asia without nearly as much support from storms related to the Equator although we see some of that occurring. The entire circulation has slowed down as one would expect this time of the year.
As I am looking at the above graphic Monday evening June 20, I see a mostly dry South and Southwest with an attempt for Subtropical Moisture to make its way into Arizona and New Mexico but it is not looking too promising in terms of being able to be sustained. One sees some interesting activity south of Florida and also in the Midwest. As we move into a Summer Pattern, the concept of a storm track west to east becomes less relevant and we focus more on south to north movements i.e. the Monsoon in the Southwest and Tropical Storms in the East and Gulf of Mexico. This graphic updates automatically so it most likely will look different by the time you look at it as the weather patterns are moving from west to east.
Below is an analysis of projected tropical hazards and benefits over an approximately two-week period. This graphic is scheduled to update on Tuesday and I am reading the June 14, 2016 Version and looking at Week 2 of that forecast.
Mostly I see for the period June 22 - June 28, 2016 a wet situation for the Maritime Continent, India, and the Sahel in Africa. Central America seems to have medium confidence of being drier than climatology.
For CONUS, this is more specific and near term with interpretation and a focus on tropical storms. It does not cover as wide an area e.g. it does not cover the Western Pacific or the Atlantic far east of the U.S. I have not been showing this graphic during the winter.
Below is a graphic which highlights the forecasted surface Highs and the Lows re air pressure on Day 6 (the Day 3 forecast is available on Page II of this Report). This graphic also auto-updates.
The Aleutian Low seemed to have retired for the Summer. But now it looks like it has decided to again pay us a visit and impact North American weather. It is not very strong. But there is a Low in the Gulf of Alaska. There is another Low in Canada above North Dakota which may soon impact the Great Lakes States.
The High Pressure off of California, the familiar RRR, is here and quite large and strong and protecting the West Coast from Pacific storms. It is normal for this time of the year unlike during the winter. Recently, I provided this K - 12 write up that provides a simple explanation on the importance of semipermanent Highs and Lows and another link that discussed possible changes in the patterns of these highs and lows which could be related to a Climate Shift (cycle) in the Pacific or Global Warming.
Looking at the current activity of the Jet Stream which continues to be quite far north.
The path of the current weather pattern is fairly clear from this graphic and it is across the Northern Tier of CONUS. This time of the year, weather patterns are moving from west to east more slowly than usual and this also raises flooding issues as storms can stay over a given area for longer times than during mid-Winter.
And here is the forecast out five days with a continuation of the overall northern tendency in the pattern.
Not all weather is controlled by the Jet Stream (which is a high altitude phenomenon) but it does play a major role in steering storm systems. In some cases however a Low Pressure System becomes separated or "cut off" from the Jet Stream. In that case it's movements may be more difficult to predict until that disturbance is again recaptured by the Jet Stream.
To see how the pattern is projected to evolve, please click here. In addition to the shaded areas which show an interpretation of the Jet Stream, one can also see the wind vectors (arrows) at the 300 Mb level.
This longer animation shows how the jet stream is crossing the Pacific and when it reaches the U.S. West Coast is going every which way.
Click here to gain access to a very flexible computer graphic. You can adjust what is being displayed by clicking on "earth" adjusting the parameters and then clicking again on "earth" to remove the menu. Right now it is set up to show the 500 hPa wind patterns which is the main way of looking at synoptic weather patterns.
And when we look at Sea Surface anomalies below, we see a lot of them not just along the Equator related to ENSO.
The waters off of Japan remain warm. The Indian Ocean is warm but much less so than recently especially east of Africa. The waters off of New Zealand are no longer warm and generating storms which impact surf conditions all the way to North America. That long run may have run its course. There has been some limited tropical activity off the East Coast of Australia but the waters north of Australia to Indonesia are where the major part of the warm anomaly is found but that seems to be easing. The overall Northern Pacific is indeed PDO Positive (the horseshoe pattern with the cool anomaly inside the horseshoe shape). The PDO Index rose to 2.4 in March which with El Nino fading may be significant. It was up to 2.62 in April but eased to 2.35 in May. It looks to me like it may be declining further. The question remains about the PDO. Is it acting independently of the El Nino or is this the change from PDO- to PDO+ that would signal a multi-decadal change in the Pacific. Here is the list of PDO values. The water off the West Coast of North America is very warm but perhaps not as intense as recently and only further north. That is significant. The water off the East Coast is less warm. The water off of South America is not showing much of a La Nina pattern even though El Nino is history. In fact it is looking more El Ninoish this week but this graphic seems to be changing from day to day. There is a very narrow cool anomaly in the Pacific right along the Equator, It visually looks more like ENSO Neutral than all the way to La Nina and it may be what is called a La Nina Modoki. Further north in the Atlantic east of Newfoundland the North Atlantic is cooler than normal. But the waters of the British Isles now show a warm anomaly. The warm water off of West Africa is now not significant. The waters north of Antarctica are uniformly colder than climatology. I have some additional commentary on this static analysis of the anomalies below where I examine the four-week change in these anomalies.
Since these are "departures" or "anomalies", it is not a seasonal pattern that is being shown it is the changes from what we would expect on a seasonal basis.
Below I show the changes over the last month in the Sea Surface Temperature (SST) anomalies.
Comparing a four-week graphic to a prior four-week graphic is always tricky since only 25% of the data has changed and I am not showing the former graphic (it is in last week's report). I add the new one to my draft report, compare and comment on the change and then delete the old one to keep this report to a manageable size. Also it is important to recognize that what you see in this graphic is the change in the anomaly. So blue means either cooler or less warm. Red means warmer or less cool. So you have to refer to the graphic above this one to really interpret this graphic as what we are seeing here is the change in the anomalies. What we see in this graphic is four weeks of change not the current absolute anomalies which are shown in the above graphic. It is not derivatives in the mathematical sense but deltas. They are somewhat similar. The graphic above this one has no time component. It is simply the deviation from climatology and this graphic below shows the four week change in the deviation from climatology. So it is a bit like the first (graphic above) and second (graphic below) derivatives but not exactly. I take it a step further by comparing this weeks version of the graphic to the prior week and report on the differences below.
What I see as I look at both last week's version of this graphic and the current one (before deleting the prior version) is a rewarming of the ENSO measurement area along the Equator. La Nina is fading. [That is not a misprint.] The Atlantic is cooling i.e. becoming lest AMO+. Mostly it is a moderation.
Four- Week Outlook
I am going to show the three-month JAS Outlook, the recently updated Outlook for the single month of July, the 6 - 10 Day and 8 - 14 Day Maps and the Week 3 - 4 Experimental Outlook
First - Temperature
Here is the Three-Month JAS Temperature Outlook issued on June 16, 2016:
Here is the Early July Temperature Outlook Issued on June 16 (I am not showing the earlier Full Month June Temperature Outlook since by the time you read this article, most of June will not even be represented in the 6 - 10 Day Outlook)
6 - 10 Day Temperature Outlook
8 - 14 Day Temperature Outlook
Looking further out.
As I view these maps on June 20, it appears that the main features through July 15 will be intense heat in the West and Southwest with the Northeast moving towards EC.
Now - Precipitation
Here is the three-month JAS Precipitation Outlook issued on June 16, 2016:
And here is the Early Precipitation Outlook for July Issued on June 16, 2016 (Again, I am not showing the full month June Precipitation Outlook for the same reason I did not show the Temperature version of that Graphic - It is available in last week's Report).
6 - 10 Day Precipitation Outlook
8 - 14 Day Precipitation Outlook
As I view these maps on June 20 (they update each day), it looks like precipitation leading up to July 15 is tending towards a pattern of a dry northwest, a moderate Monsoon in the Southwest focused in Arizona and Utah, a wet Northeast and a dry area in the upper Mississippi Valley.
Here are excerpts from the NOAA discussion released today June 20, 2016.
6-10 DAY OUTLOOK FOR JUN 26 - 30 2016
TODAY'S MODEL SOLUTIONS ARE IN GOOD AGREEMENT ON THE OVERALL 500-HPA FLOW PATTERN OVER THE FORECAST DOMAIN. MODELS ARE FORECASTING A CLOSED 500-HPA LOW IN THE GULF OF ALASKA, A RIDGE CENTERED OVER THE WESTERN CONUS, AND A TROUGH CENTERED OVER THE EASTERN U.S. TODAY'S 500-HPA MANUAL BLEND EQUALLY WEIGHTS THE 6Z GFS ENSEMBLE MEAN AND 0Z ECMWF ENSEMBLE MEAN, AS THEY BOTH HAVE SHOWN RELATIVELY HIGH SKILL OVER THE PAST 2 MONTHS, AND ARE IN GOOD AGREEMENT. MOST OF TODAY'S MODELS INDICATE ABOVE NORMAL HEIGHTS THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE U.S. THE ONLY EXCEPTIONS ARE THE 0Z AND 6Z GFS DETERMINISTIC MODELS, AND THE 0Z CANADIAN ENSEMBLE MEAN, WHICH FORECAST SLIGHTLY BELOW NORMAL HEIGHTS IN THE UPPER MISSISSIPPI VALLEY. THIS IS REFLECTED IN THE TEMPERATURE PROBABILITY FORECAST BELOW.
ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES ARE FAVORED IN ALL PARTS OF THE U.S., EXCEPT FOR THE UPPER MISSISSIPPI VALLEY WHERE SOME MODELS ARE FORECAST NEAR TO BELOW NORMAL TEMPERATURES. ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES ARE MOST FAVORED FOR THE WEST COAST AND ESPECIALLY PARTS OF CALIFORNIA, WHERE LOW-LEVEL WINDS ARE OFFSHORE AND DOWNSLOPING, AND TEMPERATURE TOOLS ARE IN THE BEST AGREEMENT.
MULTIPLE SHORTWAVES FORECAST TO TRAVEL AROUND A PREDICTED CLOSED LOW IN THE GULF OF ALASKA INCREASES THE LIKELIHOOD OF ABOVE MEDIAN PRECIPITATION FOR MUCH OF THE EASTERN TWO THIRDS OF ALASKA, WHILE RIDGING TO THE WEST OF THIS LOW FAVORS BELOW MEDIAN PRECIPITATION FOR COASTAL PARTS OF WESTERN ALASKA AND MUCH OF THE ALEUTIANS. ABOVE NORMAL RIDGING AND NORTHERLY LOW-LEVEL FLOW IS EXPECTED TO SUPPRESS STORM ACTIVITY IN THE WESTERN U.S., FAVORING NEAR TO BELOW MEDIAN PRECIPITATION FOR THE WESTERN U.S., EXTENDING DOWNSTREAM INTO THE UPPER MISSISSIPPI VALLEY. MODELS ARE INDICATING THAT CONDITIONS MAY BECOME FAVORABLE FOR THE ONSET OF THE SOUTHWEST MONSOON TO OCCUR WITHIN [Editor's Note: which could mean towards the end of] THE 6-10 DAY PERIOD, ENHANCING ODDS FOR ABOVE MEDIAN PRECIPITATION IN PARTS OF THE SOUTHWEST. A PREDICTED COLD FRONT FAVORS ABOVE MEDIAN PRECIPITATION FROM THE CENTRAL PLAINS TO PARTS OF THE EASTERN U.S.
FORECAST CONFIDENCE FOR THE 6-10 DAY PERIOD: ABOVE AVERAGE, 4 OUT OF 5, DUE TO GOOD AGREEMENT AMONG VARIOUS FORECAST MODELS AND TOOLS.
8-14 DAY OUTLOOK FOR JUN 28 - JUL 04, 2016
THE PATTERN FORECAST FOR THE WEEK-2 PERIOD IS VERY SIMILAR TO THE 6-10 DAY PERIOD, EXCEPT SHIFTED EASTWARD. THE CORRESPONDING TEMPERATURE PROBABILITY FORECAST IS VERY SIMILAR AS WELL, EXCEPT THAT THE AREA OF PREDICTED NEAR TO BELOW NORMAL HEIGHTS IS SHIFTED TOWARD THE EASTERN U.S., FAVORING SOME AREAS OF NEAR NORMAL TEMPERATURES FROM THE OHIO VALLEY TO THE MID ATLANTIC. THE PRECIPITATION PROBABILITY FORECAST IS ALSO SIMILAR, WITH A COUPLE OF EXCEPTIONS. ABOVE MEDIAN PRECIPITATION IS FAVORED FOR ALL OF ALASKA DUE TO MORE FREQUENT STORM SYSTEMS FORECAST FOR THE WEEK-2 PERIOD, COMPARED TO THE 6-10 DAY PERIOD. THE AREA OF ABOVE MEDIAN PRECIPITATION IN THE EAST IS SHIFTED EAST AND SOUTH IN THE WEEK-2 PERIOD AS THE COLD FRONT IS FORECAST TO MOVE EAST AND SOUTH INTO THE WEEK-2 PERIOD. BELOW MEDIAN PRECIPITATION IS FAVORED BEHIND THE EXPECTED COLD FRONT IN THE GREAT LAKES REGION. AS LOW-LEVEL WINDS ARE FORECAST TO BE MORE EASTERLY THAN SOUTHERLY OVER THE GULF, MOISTURE IS EXPECTED TO BE LESS ABUNDANT THAN NORMAL OVER PARTS OF SOUTHERN TEXAS, LEADING TO INCREASED CHANCES FOR BELOW MEDIAN PRECIPITATION THERE.
FORECAST CONFIDENCE FOR THE 8-14 DAY PERIOD IS: ABOVE AVERAGE, 4 OUT OF 5, DUE TO GOOD MODEL CONTINUITY WITH THE EARLIER 6-10 DAY PERIOD, AND GOOD AGREEMENT AMONG THE MODELS AND TOOLS.
THE NEXT SET OF LONG-LEAD MONTHLY AND SEASONAL OUTLOOKS WILL BE RELEASED ON JULY 21
Some might find this analysis interesting as the organization which prepares it looks at things from a very detailed perspective and their analysis provides a lot of information on the history and evolution of this El Nino.
Analogs to the Outlook.
Now let us take a detailed look at the "Analogs" which NOAA provides related to the Outlook.
I prefer the set of analogs that relates to the 5 day period centered on 3 days ago and the 7 day period centered on 4 days ago. "Analog" means that the weather pattern then resembles the recent weather pattern and was used in some way to predict the 6 - 14 day Outlook. But the NOAA system for generating those pre-forecast analogs is not working. They publish a second set of analogs which relates the 6 - 10 Day Outlook to previous occurrences of that weather pattern and similarly for the 8 -14 Day Outlook. So that is what I am using today. It is explained here and here. I do not like my work being doubled so I decided to just use the second set of analogs which corresponds to Day 11 of the Outlook. In my mind that set of analogs tells you nothing (zilch) about the reliability of the forecasts but is helpful in predicting the outlook for the subsequent time periods. That is interesting also. I am also presenting them today in the order that they are provided which means the ones at the top have the highest level of correlation with the forecast and thus are more reliable for forecasting future time periods.
June 11, 1952
June 13, 1952
June 18, 1978
June 13, 1979
Followed by El Nino Modoki Type II
June 14, 1979
Followed by El Nino Modoki Type II
June 18, 1994
Followed by El Nino Modoki Type I
May 31, 2000
Long La Nina following SuperNino
June 19, 2005
Following a El Nino Modoki
One thing that jumped out at me right away was the spread among the analogs from May 31 to June 19 which is a bit under three weeks. I have not examined the centroid of this distribution carefully but it looks about right i.e. an unscientific analysis yields perhaps June 10 which is ten days before June 20 and these analogs are centered on 3 days and 4 days ago (June 16 or 17). If you exclude the Mary 31 analog, it works out perfectly. That can be a sign that current conditions (as represented in the historical analogs) are generally consistent with this time of the year. For subjective (difficult to make an analytic case) reasons, that gives me increased confidence in the 6 - 14 Day Outlook. But the forecast is for warmer weather than is normal for this time of the year and the forecast anomalies are adjusted for Global Warming so that raises questions. But the forecast moderates over the period now through July 15.
I think NOAA would appreciate it if I said that these analogs are not a substitute for their very sophisticated forecasting software and I am not suggesting that they are. I present them partially for curiosity purposes but also to see how current conditions correlate with medium and low frequency cycles. The medium frequency cycle I track is ENSO and the two low- frequency cycles I track are the PDO and AMO. When I see that forecasts are consistent with the current phases of these cycles (as represented by the analogs), that seems very suggestive to me that our weather is probably fairly easy to forecast. If the analogs are all over the place then I have to wonder if the forecasts are good or if our weather is just not related to these cycles. That certainly can be the case. So I am doing some research here and you are seeing how I look at things. I hope you find it interesting.
There are this time zero El Nino Analogs, seven ENSO Neutral Analogs and just one La Nina Analog suggesting that we are now beyond the time of the year where the Phase of ENSO is very important or that La Nina has not started to makes its presence known.
The phases of the ocean cycles in the analogs are indecisive. The seminal work on the impact of the PDO and AMO on U.S. climate can be found here. Water Planners might usefully pay attention to the low-frequency cycles such as the AMO and the PDO as the media tends to focus on the current and short-term forecasts to the exclusion of what we can reasonably anticipate over multi-decadal periods of time. One of the major reasons that I write this weather and climate column is to encourage a more long term and World view of weather.
You may have to squint but the drought probabilities are shown on the map and also indicated by the color coding with shades of red indicating higher than 25% of the years are drought years (25% or less of average precipitation for that area) and shades of blue indicating less than 25% of the years are drought years. Thus drought is defined as the condition that occurs 25% of the time and this ties in nicely with each of the four pairs of two phases of the AMO and PDO.
Historical Anomaly Analysis
When I see the same dates showing up often I find it interesting to consult this list.
With respect to relating analog dates to ENSO Events, the following table might be useful. In most cases this table will allow the reader to draw appropriate conclusions from NOAA supplied analogs. If the analogs are not associated with an El Nino or La Nina they probably are not as easily interpreted. Remember, an analog is indicating a similarity to a weather pattern in the past. So if the analogs are not associated with a prior El Nino or prior La Nina the computer models are not likely to generate a forecast that is consistent with an El Nino or a La Nina.
J FM 1951
Progress of the Warm Event (Perhaps the title should change and it probably will next week)
Let us start with the SOI.
Below is the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) reported by Queensland, Australia. The first column is the tentative daily reading, the second is the 30 day moving/running average and the third is the 90 day moving/running average.
90 Day Average
The 30-day average, which is the most widely used measure, as of June 20 is reported at +2.58 which is now clearly Neutral. The 90-day average barely remains in El Nino territory at -6.36 almost unchanged from last week. Usually but not always the 90 day average changes more slowly than the 30 day average but it depends on what values drop out. The SOI is no longer associated with an El Nino (usually required to be more negative than -8.0 but some consider -6.0 or even -5.0 value good enough). Similarly +5 to +8 would be the values that different meteorological agencies would look for to conclude the 30 Day SOI was signaling La Nina. The 30 Day indicates current conditions. The 90 day may be useful for assessed the lagged impacts.
The MJO or Madden Julian Oscillation is an important factor in regulating the SOI and Kelvin Waves and other tropical weather characteristics. More information on the MJO can be found here. Here is another good resource.
Low-Level Wind Anomalies
Here are the low-level wind anomalies. We now see westerly anomalies which are retarding the development of the La Nina. This is an El Nino pattern.
And now the Outgoing Longwave Anomalies which tells us where convection has been taking place.
In the above graphic, the convection zone east of the Dateline has vanished. There no longer is any sign of El Nino except for dry conditions in the Western Pacific.
Equatorial Subsurface Analysis
We are now going to change the way we look at a three dimensional view of the Equator and move from the surface view to the view from the surface down.
Current Sub-Surface Conditions. Notice the lag in getting this information posted so the current situation may be a bit different than shown.
And now the pair of graphics that I regularly provide and which as I publish are currently able to be accessed from the NOAA website:
The above pair of graphics showing the current situation has an upper and lower graphic. The bottom graphic shows the absolute values, the upper graphic shows anomalies compared to what one might expect at this time of the year in the various areas both 130E to 90W Longitude and from the surface down to 450 meters.
The top graphic shows surface temperature anomalies. The 0.5 C anomaly now only shows up between 170E and the 165W all of which is west of the ONI Measurement Area. But the coolest water at the surface does not extend very far north and south of the Equator (not shown in this graphic) is why we are in ENSO Neutral not yet La Nina. Also the cold subsurface water appears to be slow to rise to the surface.
The bottom half of the graphic (Absolute Values which highlights the Thermocline) perhaps is now more useful as we shift our focus and begin tracking the progress of this new Cool Event.
It shows the thermocline between warm and cool water. The 28C Isotherm is now located at about 170W. This graphic does not show a 27.5C anomaly which might more precisely indicate where convection is likely to occur. The 27C isotherm is now at about 160W. The situation has actually become less La Nina-ish over the past couple of weeks probably due to the MJO. We should see more expansion of the cold water to the west soon.
Here are the above graphics as a time sequence animation. You may have to click on them to get the animation going.
We now have to change our focus from tracking the El Nino to tracking the transition to ENSO Neutral and most likely to ENSO La Nina. So I am deleting many of the TAO/TRITON graphics to show how the El Nino developed except one which was close to the maximum. It was not the maximum but it was the one that I froze which was the closest to the maximum that I saved. It is useful for comparing the current situation with the pattern that prevailed near the peak of the El Nino this past winter.
And here is the current version of the TAO/TRITON Graphic.
We seem to be having a number of things going on at the same time. The warm anomaly is almost gone, the cool anomaly extends further into the Pacific but the cool anomaly near Ecuador is actually weaker. So the actual pattern may be more nuanced than is being measured by the models.
Location Bar for Nino 3.4 Area Above and Below
The 3.5C through 1.5C anomalies are no longer visible in the ONI Measurement Areas. So the maximum anomalies have declined by two and one half degrees Centigrade. This means that if one is attempting to mentally estimate the daily ONI, an approach would be to make an initial estimate of the midpoint of the 1C to 1.5C anomaly or 1.25C and subtract the reductions from there where the anomaly is less. What I have just described is not exactly the approach I use in my calculation below but it does provide a quick way to get a feel for the current strength of this El Nino. There is actually shading in the TAO/TRITON Graphic that might allow one to try to refine estimates a bit more than the contour lines but I rely on the contour lines. This El Nino is gone I believe. A little later in the article I will do my own calculation and report on the NOAA calculation.
The below table which only looks at the Equator shows the extent of anomalies along the Equator. I had split the table to show warm, neutral, and cool anomalies. The top rows showed El Nino anomalies. When there were no more El Nino anomalies along the Equator, I eliminated those rows but I may not have mentioned that a couple of weeks ago when I did that. The two rows just below that break point contribute to ENSO Neutral and after another break the rows are associated with La Nina conditions. I have changed the reference date to May 23, 1016 and may not have announced that in the week when I did that. May 23, 2016 is about when I began to focus on the cool phase of ENSO rather than the warm phase.
Comparing Now to May 23, 2016
Subareas of the Anomaly
Degrees of Coverage
May 23, 2016
In Nino 3.4
May 23, 2016
These Rows Show the Extent of ENSO Neutral Impacts on the Equator
0.5C or cooler Anomaly
0C or cooler Anomaly
These Rows Show the Extent of the La Nina Impacts on the Equator
-0.5C or cooler Anomaly
-1C or cooler Anomaly
-1.5C or cooler Anomaly
If you just look on the Equator there are 40 to 45 degrees of ENSO Neutral anomalies and only 30 degrees of La Nina anomalies. Away from the Equator it is generally warmer when a La Nina is trying to get started. For whatever reason, we have less of a potential La Nina being recorded this week than last and last week was a reduction from the prior week. I am not suggesting that La Nina is not coming but it certainly has been delayed possibly due to the MJO. You can compare the situation to May 23 in this graphic and La Nina has made no progress but has actually lost ground.
I calculate the ONI each week using a method that I have devised. To refine my calculation, I have divided the 170W to 120W ONI measuring area into five subregions (which I have designated from west to east as A through E) with a location bar shown under the TAO/TRITON Graphic). I use a rough estimation approach to integrate what I see below and record that in the table I have constructed. Then I take the average of the anomalies I estimated for each of the five subregions. So as of Monday June 20, in the afternoon working from the June 19 TAO/TRITON report, this is what I calculated.
Calculation of ONI from TAO/TRITON Graphic
A. 170W to 160W
B. 160W to 150W
C. 150W to 140W
D. 140W to 130W
E. 130W to 120W
Total divided by five subregions i.e. the ONI
(1.1)/5 = +0.2
(1.4)/5 = +0.3
My estimate of the daily Nino 3.4 ONI has increased to +0.3 i.e. it is becoming more El Ninoish than going in the direction of La Nina. NOAA has reported the weekly ONI to be slightly HIGHER than their report last week at +0.2 which is an ENSO Neutral value but slightly on the El Nino side of the scale. Nino 4.0 is being reported slightly warmer at 0.7 still raising questions about if and how fast the Warm Pool is migrating to the West as it dissipates. Nino 3.0 is being reported higher 0.2. Nino 1 + 2 which extends from the Equator south rather than being centered on the Equator is being reported as being slightly lower at +0.4. This La Nina is not coming on like gangbusters. WELCOME TO ENSO NEUTRAL. I am only showing the currently issued version of the NINO SST Index Table as the prior values are shown in the small graphics on the right with this graphic. The same data in graphical form but going back a couple of more years can be found here.
ONI Recent History
The official reading for Mar/Apr/May is now reported as 1.1. I have discussed before the mystery of how the Nino 3.4 (ONI) CFSv2 values above get translated into the ERSST.v4 values shown below and if NOAA feels that working with two sets of books is a good way to operate, who am I argue. Many businesses do the same thing. As you can see this El Nino peaked in NDJ and is now declining and depending on what system you use it is either the 2nd or 3rd strongest El Nino since modern records were kept which is considered to be 1950. You could argue for it being #1 based on a week of readings but few are buying that argument. Still #2 or #3 means it is one of the strongest ever based on the way these events are measured. I will be writing more about that soon in a separate article. I believe the measurement system is inadequate re being useful in forecasting Worldwide weather impacts.
The full history of the ONI readings can be found here. The MEI index readings can be found here.
Although I did not discuss the Kelvin Waves earlier, now seems to be the best place to show the evolution of the subsurface temperatures which remains relevant.
You can now see that the El Nino is totally gone. The coolest water, however, is only reaching the surface from 125W to 140W. Either this La Nina is shy or it is a Modoki. Or it is just not happening.
On the right you see every second week of this graphic historically so you can follow the progression.
SST Surface Anomaly Hovmoeller
Here is another way of looking at it: Unlike the Upper Ocean Heat Anomaly Hovmoeller (I call it the Kelvin Wave Hovmoeller) which takes an average down to 300 meters, this just measures the surface temperature anomaly. It is the surface that interacts with the atmosphere and causes convection and also the warming and cooling of the atmosphere. A major advantage of the Hovmoeller method of displaying information is that it shows the history so I do not need to show a sequence of snap shots of the conditions at different points in time. Nevertheless this Hovmoeller provides a good way to visually see the evolution of this El Nino and later track its demise.
Here is the version released with the Weekly ENSO Report. It is the same information prettied up and does not auto-update so I do not report it regularly but it is a lot easier to read.
You read this Hovmoeller from bottom to top and you can clearly see how the El Nino ended and we flirted with La Nina but that has been a bit reversed.
Recent Impacts of Weather Mostly El Nino but possibly Also PDO and AMO Impacts.
We have been showing snapshots of 30 Day temperature and precipitation departures over the life of this El Nino. The end date of the 30 day period is shown in the graphic. It is a way of seeing how the impacts of this El Nino have unfolded.
But now that El Nino is over, we are switching our focus and the number of graphics have been reduced to cover the final four months of the El Nino (January through April) and refocus our attention to the current situation which is ENSO Neutral and which most likely will evolve into a La Nina but the strength of that La Nina is still open for debate. Of course after it happens we will know.
Lets take a look at the combined results for the first three months of 2016: January, February and March.
Well that does not look like an El Nino pattern to me but more like a La Nina pattern for precipitation and just plain warm pretty much everywhere which is neither an El Nino nor a La Nina Pattern.
And here is the April (30 day) graphic.
We saw a gradual change in April to a more typical El Nino pattern. The Northwest is dry and the Southwest is a bit wetter than normal. One area along the Southern California western Arizona border had very good El Nino precipitation. The lee side of the Rockies for some reason were wet all the way to Canada and probably into Canada but not shown in this graphic. It certainly has remained dry in Mexico. The Temperature Pattern has been very close to a typical El Nino pattern in April.
And here is what May looked like:
The final days of this El Nino behaved like an El Nino. Quite interesting.
But looking at a longer time period in this 90 days or approximately three months.
Looking at the past three months (March - May), it certainly at least with respect to precipitation was more like a La Nina event than an El Nino event. Except for Texas. Northern California caught up and Northeast Mexico also. But Arizona, New Mexico and Southern California did not participate in this El Nino in 2016 although they did in the Fall of 2015. Variability is the norm
And now we start to track June and for that purpose I am repeating the prior 30 day period to make it easier to make comparisons.
And here is the next report which adds one week and removes the first week of the 30 Day Period.
The biggest change seems to be in temperature. A lot cooler. The precipitation pattern has not changed very much. The East Coast has been much dryer.
And now the next update:
Drought conditions prevailed fairly generally except in Texas and parts of the Southeast. Warm conditions returned to much of the West. We will see this more clearly in the next report as only seven days out of 30 changed in this report as compared to the prior 30-Day Report.
And the next update.
There is a very big change in the temperature pattern especially given that only seven days changed in a 30 day average. The warm anomaly really shifted but not so much today. The precipitation pattern has not changed much but Texas is less blessed or cursed depending on how you look at it but definitely the wet anomaly is decreased for the more recent 30 days.
ENSO in the News
No news to report.
Global Warming in the News
I could not find a better report than what I just wrote re the Heat Wave. At least I have not said that low humidity make high temperatures feel more uncomfortable as one article I looked at declared. Makes you want to roll your eyes when you read that sort of thing.
View from Australia
Below is the discussion just released. Notice the discussion re forecasting a La Nina for next winter. They are not so sure. But expect a Negative IOD in any event.
Chance of a negative Indian Ocean Dipole event increases
The tropical Pacific Ocean remains in a neutral El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) state—neither El Niño nor La Niña—with all ocean and atmospheric indicators now near normal.
Recent observations and climate model forecasts continue to suggest La Niña may develop in the coming months, hence the Bureau’s ENSO Outlook remains at La Niña WATCH level. A La Niña WATCH means there is a 50% likelihood of La Niña developing during the second half of 2016. If La Niña does develop, climate models suggest it is unlikely to reach levels seen in the most recent event of 2010–12, which was one of the strongest La Niña events on record.
La Niña is typically associated with higher than usual winter and spring rainfall over northern, central and eastern Australia, and cooler than normal daytime temperatures south of the tropics.
Warm ocean temperatures to the north of Australia, in the Indian Ocean, and in the Tasman Sea are also currently influencing Australia’s climate. Warm ocean temperatures surrounding Australia provide more moisture to weather systems that pass over the oceans and potentially change the path weather systems take, resulting in more systems reaching the continent.
Warm ocean temperatures to the northwest of Australia can be associated with a negative Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), especially when they occur at the same time as cooler than usual ocean in the tropical western Indian Ocean, near the African coast. Climate models and current observations suggest a negative IOD may be in the early stages of development. However several more weeks of similar ocean temperature patterns would need to be observed before 2016 is considered a negative IOD year. Negative IOD events typically bring higher than usual winter and spring rainfall to southern Australia.
IOD (Indian Ocean Dipole)
The graphic comes with only a very short discussion and here is that discussion:
Indian Ocean Dipole outlooks
The Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) index has been below -0.4 °C for the past four weeks, with a latest weekly value of -0.6 °C for the week ending 19 June 2016. To be considered a negative IOD event, it would take several more weeks of IOD index values below the threshold value. International climate models suggest these negative values are likely to persist over the coming months, with all models suggesting a negative IOD event will develop in the winter-spring months.
Negative IOD events are more likely to occur during La Niña. Typically a negative IOD brings above average winter-spring rainfall to southern Australia.
More broadly, sea surface temperatures (SSTs) are significantly warmer than average across much of the Indian Ocean. This warmth will likely provide more available moisture to weather systems as they cross the Australian continent.
Information on the impact of a negative IOD on Australia can be found here.
Putting it all Together.
This El Nino has ended in terms of current satisfying the criteria. It is possible that officially it may not be declared dead until the end of June because the Mar - Apr - May value of the ONI at 1.1 satisfies the 0.5 cutoff and it is possible that the Apr - May - Jun average ONI may still meet the criteria even though the daily and weekly values no longer meet the criteria.
We are now speculating on the winter of 2016/2017 which now according to most of the models seems likely to be a La Nina or Neutral with a La Nina bias.
The below is the CPC/IRI forecast issued on June 9, 2016. It is important to remember that the first report in each month is based on a survey of meteorologists and the second report later in the month is based on the analysis of the forecast models. It is a minor difference but a difference.
And now the later Plume Analysis.
Notice that in space of a week the probabilities for La Nina have been pushed out a a month. The methodology of these two graphics are different but I think the results are consistent with other information that is available. The La Nina is coming but not as quickly as some had thought.
We have suggested that it is possible that some of the models and in particular NOAA's model will be wrong about how fast the Eastern Pacific Warm Pool moves back towards its La Nina location and it may well be that next winter will be more of a Neutral year or even have some characteristics of an El Nino Modoki and thus be wetter than a typical year as the Warm Pool may still be more in the Central Pacific than shifted all the way west to its La Nina position.
The mean of the NOAA model was until recently forecasting a fairly strong La Nina for next winter. The model is gradually shifting to a weak La Nina Forecast. Notice the blue members of the ensemble forecast which are the more recent ones. The mean of the model ensemble has recently turned higher for next winter as you can see. You can see the same thing in the Australian POAMA model and the June 1 JAMSTEC model run.
Here is the June 1 run of the JAMSTEC Model.
The June 1 run is forecasting a weak to moderate La Nina for next winter and continuing as a La Nina or Neutral with a La Nina tendency for the subsequent winter. That could be the signal for the Pacific Climate Shift. The heart of this coming winter however is indicating fairly strong La Nina Conditions
Forecasting Beyond Five Years.
So in terms of long-term forecasting, none of this is very difficult to figure out actually if you are looking at say a five-year or longer forecast. The research on Ocean Cycles is fairly conclusive and widely available to those who seek it out. I have provided a lot of information on this in prior weeks and all of that information is preserved in Part II of my report in the Section on Low Frequency Cycles 3. Low Frequency Cycles such as PDO, AMO, IOBD, EATS. It includes decade by decade predictions through 2050. Predicting a particular year is far harder.
The odds of a climate shift for CONUS taking place has significantly increased. It may be in progress. It may require one more La Nina and this appears to be the way this will unfold. The AMO is pretty much neutral at this point so it may need to become a bit more negative for the McCabe A pattern to become established. That seems to be slow to happen so I am thinking we need at least a couple more years for that to happen..maybe as many as five.
TABLE OF CONTENTS FOR PART II OF THIS REPORT The links below may take you directly to the set of information that you have selected but in some Internet Browsers it may first take you to the top of Page II where there is a TABLE OF CONTENTS and take a few extra seconds to get you to the specific section selected. If you do not feel like waiting, you can click a second time within the TABLE OF CONTENTS to get to the specific part of the webpage that interests you.
TABLE OF CONTENTS FOR PART III OF THIS REPORT - GLOBAL WARMING WHICH SOME CALL CLIMATE CHANGE. The links below may take you directly to the set of information that you have selected but in some Internet Browsers it may first take you to the top of Page III where there is a TABLE OF CONTENTS and take a few extra seconds to get you to the specific section selected. If you do not feel like waiting, you can click a second time within the TABLE OF CONTENTS to get to the specific part of the webpage that interests you.
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